Why Senator Hermangild Francis’ Pragmatic Stance On Capital Punishment Can Be The First Step To Crime Rate Reduction In St. Lucia

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The law, and its application, has generally taken a back seat to the “Universal” concept of human rights; most especially in the past thirty years.

One of the issues this concept affects is Capital Punishment. Human Rights advocates argue that the legalization and enforcement of Capital Punishment, is contrary to human rights. This belief has seen this law abolished outright in many countries; and in most of those that still have this law on their books, it is hardly ever enforced. St. Lucia is one of those countries.

It is in lieu of this fact that Senator Hermangild Francis, noting the number of violent crimes against law enforcement in St. Lucia recently, lamented the lack of enforcement of a law, that is currently on the nation’s books.The Judiciary was the recipient of the brunt of Sen. Francis’ criticisms, as he observed that, though the arrests are being made, the crimes aren’t being properly punished.

“Sometimes the police do what they are supposed to do. ” he said, before pointing out the need for cohesion in law enforcement. “The persons who are taken to court, they are granted bail, and at the end of the day, they go back and do the very same things. It is all the systems working together; the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, must work hand in hand. One person cannot be doing one thing and another person doing another thing.” (HTS News)

Although the Senator claims he is not criticizing the Judiciary, he goes on to do exactly that, pointing out the leniency with which many cases are dealt. “I’m not criticizing the Judiciary, but some of the persons in the Judiciary must understand they live here, they have heard the facts, they have seen what’s happening. When you bring somebody before a magistrate or a judge for a firearm offense; we understand the number of firearms that are being used here, and persons get a slap on the wrist and get away.”

“How do you expect the police officers, who are risking their lives– and in the last instance, a police officer, not even on duty, responding to a call from a citizen, indicating and giving him information and he’s reacting. And maybe that person is caught and brought there; it’s a slap on the wrist.”

Speaking about the tragic death of the security guard, Sen. Francis stressed the need for the enforcement of Capital Punishment; a law as he points out is currently on St. Lucia’s books. “A security guard loses his life trying to fend for his family.” He said. “The criminal code deals with Capital Murder. How many persons have been sentenced for Capital Murder? We need to get there. There is an offence in the criminal code called Capital Murder and it says if you are found guilty you may be hanged. So I’m going to be visiting the Bor-de-lais Facility some time next week to see whether the gallows are functioning properly. The time has come. We need to make an example.”

To the stupid assertion of one of the reporters who said “So you’re saying you’re bringing back hanging” he replied; “I am not saying I am bringing back hanging. I am telling you the criminal code speaks about it. This is on our law books. If we as a people do not want it then we remove it. If we want it it is there. We must implement it. That is all I’m saying.”

He went on to say “People have said that hanging is not a deterrent. That’s not my business, whether it’s a deterrent or not.”

This proves that the Senator, does not view the question of Capital Punishment ideologically but pragmatically. To him, it is clearly not a question of personal preference or belief. Rather it is a question of what the law says. If it is lawful , then it should be enforced. Personal feelings ought to take a back seat to that fact.

He concludes by stating: “The law says when you have been found guilty of a Capital Murder; you’ve killed a police officer, you’ve killed a judicial officer–there’s this what they call now a hit-man and all these kinda things for pay–if you’re found guilty the law says that you should be hanged and you’re hung.”

But the human rights powers-that-be simply won’t allow that. They’ve infiltrated the legal system, effectively nullifying our Capital Punishment law. They argue that it is not a deterrent, which the Senator rightly says does not matter, since it is on our books. This pragmatic view of the Capital Punishment law, may be the starting point for its re-implementation in St. Lucia, leading to a decrease in violent crimes. The hard part though, is convincing our liberal judges, of this pragmatic view of the law.


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Dean Nestor

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